There are some purchases - appliances, jewelry and technology to name to just a few - that require a community to complete.
Shoppers typically do their due diligence looking for testimonies from their peers to feel confident in their decision to buy either big-ticket items like those previously mentioned or from companies they don't have prior knowledge of. Knowing this, SAP Jam announced the release of Communities for SAP hybris Commerce, which is available immediately.
While there are plenty of offerings already available that businesses can implement to collect, curate and display ratings and reviews, as well as questions and answers, Communities is different in that it should prove to be a partner for retailers struggling to meet consumers' content and customer service demands - before, during and after the sale. As SAP Jam puts it, "from awareness to advocacy."
Communities takes both a traditional and new approach to displaying and encouraging user-generated content. For starters, review content can be displayed on individual product pages, a distributor's website or anywhere retailers find their buyers coming in from. Where Communities is really different, however, is it creates collaboration-driven websites for businesses looking to build a community of like-minded people who are willing to provide feedback, answer questions and develop other content (like blogs and videos) for their peers.
This type of user-generated content (UGC) is not only invaluable for conversions because it is seen as more trustworthy, but it also has SEO and customer service implications. For SEO purposes, users are producing longer content for brands (Searchmetrics found landing pages in the top 30 rankings had an average word count of 902 in 2014 compared to 1,140 in 2015) and including important terms within the copy in a very natural way (Searchmetrics also found more than half of top sites use both proof and relevant terms). As for customer service, Communities will help buyers understand how products work, how to take care of them, how to troubleshoot problems, how to fix them, how to use them in alternative ways and the list goes on - providing them with service often not received through traditional channels where the customer likely knows more about the product than the agent.
This is all, of course, dependent on how engaged a community is.
SAP's Sameer Patel and Stephen Hamrick took this into consideration during Communities' development, of course, and the product will notify members of new content for the products they are associated with. Further, the SAP Jam team believes there will be an element of paying it forward (where people want to discuss how they solved an issue), especially with personal items, like a healthcare device.
Amazon currently prompts reviewers to answer peer questions with emails like the one shown here:
Whether similar prompts will exist for a retailer's Communities implementation, will depend on the product, company and the frequency which a user is willing to answer questions.
For those interested in Communities, the price model is set as a page-view model, so potential customers of this product will have to contact SAP. The company does note, however, that Communities is designed to lower the cost of acquiring new customers by building long-term relationships with those Communities members.
As for some final notes about the newly released solution, the data collected within these community-to-commerce interactions can be used to market to individuals (like through the SAP hybris Profile solution), as well as help brands make merchandising and marketing decisions (e.g. how well a product or campaign is performing). Finally, while SAP Jam Communities is currently only available for ecommerce, it is very likely that many of the 25 other industries that SAP hybris serves will see a rendition for their verticle after the company can prove how it can be done with commerce.
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